Weddings are beautiful and meaningful ceremonies where two people are joined into one family. Yet, perhaps as importantly, a wedding also offers an opportunity for a young, broke couple to receive financial assistance from family and friends as they are launching into a more mature, more expensive lifestyle.
Fortunately, the wedding itself isn’t the only gift-giving occasion associated with weddings — there is also the bridal shower. The history of bridal showers dates back to more than a century when parents and friends wanted to celebrate a successful betrothal and provision their daughters for their life outside the family home. These days, planning the bridal shower is the responsibility of the maid of honor, but many brides have a hand in the preparations, too.
Whether you are a bride, a maid of honor, and MOH, MOB, MOG, or merely someone else who loves organizing bridal celebrations, here are a few tips for throwing the perfect bridal shower.
Choose the Perfect Theme
When you hear the word “theme,” your mind might immediately jump to goofy ideas like “1980s” or “togas” or “luau,” but you must understand that’s not necessarily what a party theme is. A theme helps unite the look and feel of the event, so you can make choices about the venue, décor, food, stationery, and more that contribute to a cohesive atmosphere. Plus, themes help guests know what to expect from the event — what they should wear, how they should behave — which helps ensure everyone has a good time.
There are a few different ways to decide upon the perfect theme for your bridal shower. To start, you might think about the theme of the wedding — and if there isn’t a strict theme, you might look at the elements of the wedding’s style to inform the bridal shower. If you don’t want to match the wedding, you might draw inspiration from the bride’s interests. For example, in the movie “Bridesmaids,” Maya Rudolph’s character has always wanted to visit Paris, so her bridesmaids throw her a delightful Parisienne café–themed shower. Your shower might be a cute tea party, a rowdy laser tag competition, a beachy surfing soiree, or something else, as long as the bride is somehow connected to the theme.
If you are still struggling to imagine why a party theme matters, remember that all of the following elements of the shower will be affected by the theme:
- Food and drink
- Games and activities
Thus, getting the theme right will ensure that the rest of the event manifests as perfectly as possible.
Invite the Perfect People
Not all people should be welcome at all events, especially when you are striving to support, celebrate, and cherish the bride. If the bridal shower is to be perfect, you need to invite people who are going to make the bride feel special and loved — and the people who are going to give the best gifts, if that is a goal of the event. These days, you also need to decide whether you want the bridal shower to be ladies-only or co-ed — or, further, whether you want it to be a bride-only event or you want the bride’s future spouse to also take the spotlight.
In any case, the wedding guest list is an excellent place to start looking for shower invitees. Typically, you will need to send bridal shower invitations to the bride’s half of the wedding party (i.e., her bridesmaids) as well as close female family members and soon-to-be families, like her partner’s mother and sisters if applicable. Then you might consider inviting people who aren’t invited to the wedding, either because of guest list limitations or because they live far from the venue space. From this category, you might invite more extended female family members as well as older family friends, like neighbors who watched the bride grow up. Female co-workers are also appropriate shower invitees.
It should go without saying that if you opt for a co-ed shower, you don’t need to restrict yourself to an all-female guest list. You should feel comfortable inviting close male friends and relatives, and if you are throwing a bride-and-groom shower (or a bride-and-bride shower), you should consult with the bride’s partner to add invitees from their side.
If the theme is perfect and the guest list is perfect, the truth is that your bridal shower is bound to be perfect. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to throw a celebration for a soon-to-be bride; if both the bride and guests share love and appreciation, the shower will be a smashing success.